Yahya Wehelie is an American Muslim man who, after spending 18 months in Yemen, was detained in Cairo by U.S. intelligence agents. For six weeks now he has been living in a no-fly-list Egyptian limbo. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and various other activist groups are raising a stink to get him back to his Virginia home. In the New York Times, Scott Shane paints a largely sympathetic portrait of Wehelie and his predicament, quoting ACLU lawyers who say things like, “For many of these Americans, placement on the no-fly list effectively amounts to banishment from their country.” Fine. Maybe Wehelie is being treated unfairly; maybe not. However, I can’t help but think that Shane was a bit remiss in placing the following factoid 22 paragraphs into the story about the luckless world traveler:
Mr. Wehelie studied computer science at Lebanese International University in Sana, the Yemeni capital, he said, and last year he married a Somali woman in Yemen. And in the small American expatriate community, he said, he met Sharif Mobley, the New Jersey man who was later accused of joining Al Qaeda and killing a Yemeni guard. Mr. Wehelie said their handful of encounters were brief and casual, the innocent small talk of two expatriates.